Junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A/JAM-1/F11R) is a cell adhesion molecule expressed in epithelial cells, endothelial cells and also hematopoietic cells such as leukocytes, platelets and erythrocytes. However, the expression of JAM-A in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) had not been known. Here we show that JAM-A is expressed at a high level in the enriched HSC fraction, i.e. CD34+ c-Kit+ cells in embryonic day 11.5 (E11.5) aorta-gonod-mesonephros (AGM) and E11.5 fetal liver (FL) as well as c-Kit+ Sca-1+ Lineage- (KSL) cells in E14.5 FL, E18.5FL and adult bone marrow (BM). While the percentage of JAM-A+ cells in those tissues decreases during the development, the expression in HSC fraction is maintained throughout life. In fact, c-Kit+Sca-1+ cells are enriched approximately 200-fold from whole BM cells by anti-JAM-A antibody alone, i.e. the c-Kit+Sca-1+ cells in whole BM was about 0.15% and that in JAM-A+ cells was about 30%. Colony forming assays reveal that multi-lineage colony forming activity (CFU-mix) in JAM-A+ cells is higher than that in JAM-A- cells in the enriched HSC fraction in all those tissues. HSC transplantation assay revealed that long-term repopulating HSC (LTR-HSC) activity is present in the mice received 100 JAM-A+ KSL (7/9) cells and 300 KSL cells (5/6). Since the ratio of JAM-A+ cells to JAM-A- cells in the KSL fraction is about 6.5:3.5, 100 JAM-A- KSL cells are equivalent to 285 total KSL cells. In contrast to JAM-A+ cells, the mice received 1000 JAM-A- KSL cells, which are equivalent to more than 2850 total KSL cells, failed to engraft for long-term (0/6). These data revealed that long-term repopulating HSC (LTR-HSC) activity is present exclusively in the JAM-A+ cells, but not in JAM-A- cells. Moreover only 100 JAM-A+ cells isolated from whole BM cells by anti-JAM-A antibody alone reconstituted the hematopoietic system for long-term (4/7). Together these results indicate that JAM-A is expressed on hematopoietic precursors in various hematopoietic tissues and is an excellent and convenient marker to enrich LTR-HSC from BM cells.

Author notes

Disclosure:Research Funding: Core Research for Evolutionary Science and Technology (CREST) of Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).